35 thoughts on “President to Address Students”

  1. Insults always go over well, don’t they Waldo? And they are so much easier to use than to actually offer a counter-argument, right?

    Anyway, I think most people would be fine about the presidential speech, if it were not for course material that accompanies it, suggesting that children are at the service of the president. Knowing that children are sponges, and often repeat a lot of what they hear, it is not surprising that parents are concerned about indoctrination in schools, and everything from the environment to religion is a concern for parents of all backgrounds. Parents are the most responsible for their children, and if they have some concerns that someone else may undermine their efforts, parents have every right to ensure that that will not happen.

    Unless, of course, you think that courses in Christianity and the Bible are appropriate in public grade schools?

  2. No, Chris, this is totally unreasonable, hypocritical, and anti-American. Anybody who opposes this is either a) very stupid b) unbearably hypocritical c) a strong candidate for homeschooling their kids because they fear having their kids exposed to the world or d) mentally unwell. I watched Ronald Reagan on TV in school when I was eight, and I watched George H.W. Bush on TV in school when I was thirteen. Though I don’t have any meaningful memories of Reagan, I remember thinking it was really great that President Bush was speaking just to school kids, despite that I thought he was wrong about some important things. It was exciting.

    I agree with the Wall Street Journal editorial board and Newt Gingrich: “America’s children are not so vulnerable that we need to slap an NC-17 rating on Presidential speeches” and “Why is it political for the president of the United States to discuss education?” respectively. When you put your kid in a government-run school, you should be thrilled when the head of that government—the leader of the free world—is going to address your kids about the importance of education.

    Funny how quickly that business disappeared about how “if you don’t support the president in wartime you hate America.” We’re still fighting two wars. We’ve simply changed presidents to a much more popular one.

  3. Incidentally, some arguments are so obviously embarrassingly stupid that no counter-argument is necessary—contempt is the appropriate emotion. When people claim that Obama is similar to Hitler, the appropriate response isn’t to politely express disagreement and to display evidence to the contrary. That’s a total waste of time. The proper response is to ignore them—if one is feeling generous—or, my prefer approach, point out that they’re the no-talent assclowns that they are.

  4. I can’t for the life of me wonder why this isn’t a good idea for the kids to hear from the President- as long as every school who makes it available continues to do so, no matter who the next president is. Education is about being exposed to the world and I wouldn’t worry for a second that my children would hear from someone I might disagree with.

    This is very silly and I wonder of the correlation of people who dislike this idea and birthers.

  5. What puzzles me is why some parents worry that their children have such fragile value systems that they could be threatened by anything the president(or any other public figure) might say. Don’t people talk to their own children? It has been my experience that my values and expectations become part of who my children are, even when this annoys them, and are far more powerful than other cultural influences until they develop the critical thinking skills of adults.

    Waldo, my house cats are concerned with much more important things, such as the flavor of the next cat food can, and would never fuss over the imaginary socialism of the president.

  6. “Don’t people talk to their own children?”

    Oh, for certain they do. But I can remember repeating things I heard in school. A lot of those things I disagree with now (for example, I’m sure I never even thought to question the popular ideas of environmentalism at the time that I now find absurd). My parents found themselves talking to me on more than one occasion about things they heard me say. After one year in school, they made certain that they knew what the teachers were like the next year before just allowing me to pass on to the next grade, because they recognized how easily a child is influenced. From personal experience, I recognize why parents react the way they do. This explains why parents are concerned with a president who seems to be more willing to call out political pundits than be a servant of the people.

    And Waldo, I understand the sentiment of feeling that those who hold opposing views are being simplistic or missing something, but when you hurl insults, all you manage to do is preach to the choir. I can assure you that suggesting that someone like myself has “the IQ of a housecat” is enough to ensure that I will never listen to your viewpoint. And if you manage to turn away those who would otherwise agree with you (as many libertarians did to me, ensuring I would be a “neocon”), then this act is only a losing move. We don’t tend to see eye-to-eye Waldo, and I know I may have come across as somewhat condescending, but I say what I have only in looking out for you Waldo. Because if I am going to be honest here, I barely glanced at your comments, figuring that they would not have any more context than your initial blog post. And somehow, I doubt I am the first to do so.

  7. Agreed. Waldo had no call to insult cats, the slowest of which has a higher IQ than some of the birthers, Rush Limbaugh followers and so forth!
    Can just imagine its the early 1960s and these same people in Alabama and Mississippi(and even some in Virginia) are sitting around in their sheets and hoods not wanting their kids to hear a speech by President Kennedy calling for an end to racial discrimination.

  8. I can assure you that suggesting that someone like myself has “the IQ of a housecat” is enough to ensure that I will never listen to your viewpoint. And if you manage to turn away those who would otherwise agree with you (as many libertarians did to me, ensuring I would be a “neocon”), then this act is only a losing move.

    Chris, really, I don’t much care, because anybody reading this who thinks that it’s evil for the president to address school students or that Obama == Hitler (or Bush == Hitler, for that matter) is reading the wrong blog. People who believe such things are not going to have their minds changed, for the reasons I’ve explained. Meeting irrationality with rationality is a waste of time.

    What puzzles me is why some parents worry that their children have such fragile value systems that they could be threatened by anything the president(or any other public figure) might say. Don’t people talk to their own children?

    Amen, Gail.

  9. CR, EVERYONE has the experience of having their children encounter teachers who express beliefs which differ from their own. So what?? For instance, my daughter had a teacher who told her students that it was against her religion to vote. Now, from an early age I taught my kids that it was a right and responsibility to use the privilege to vote, but it never occurred to me to make a big deal about what this teacher said. I just talked with my daughter about respect for different belief systems. I think this impulse to shield children from diverse opinion betrays extreme insecurity.

  10. Looked at the pictures you posted with the Obama=Hitler signs, and saw the signs had Lyndon LaRouche at the bottom of them. “Nuf said.
    The LaRoucheites one time-I think back in the Cartwer years- claimed that the international drug trade was controlled by Vice-President Walter Mondale and Queen Elizabeth II! Talk about being a few sandwiches short of a picnic basket.
    If anti-Obama people are going to ally themselves with that fringe, they have killed any chances of being taken seriously.
    One more thing. Obama would have been anathema to the Nazis due to his ethnic background, what sad irony. On the other hand, some of those carying those signs would have likely backed Hitler had they lived in 1930s Germany.
    I think if someone starts comparing Obama to Hitler, the response should be,”you mean Obama wants to kill all the Jews and other non-Aryan people?”

  11. “If you don’t support the president in wartime you hate America.”

    If it was good enough during a Republican president then I think it’s good enough now that we’ve got a Democratic president.

    If you don’t support the president in wartime you hate America.

    ’nuff said.

  12. Well, if the speech is about working hard and staying in school then I have no issue. If it a political end around that begins to be more of a stump speech for pending legislation, often very complicated for most, and clearly beyond the 3rd graders, then we begin to get into murky territory.

    Why do I have so little faith in any politician? Perhaps they have earned it…

    For parents that work hard to make sure to monitor what their children receive via video and audio these days, they have every right to be concerned. Teachers are usually a liberal group, and I could see them watching an Obama speech and then advocating (kind of like you are doing here…) rather than reviewing and discussing, historically what journalists are supposed to do. ow would you be reacting if Bush went on TV to argue his policies for handling non-uniformed enemy comabatant? And what if the teacher watched then said, “this is how your grandfathers did it in WW2. If you showed up in war as a spy, you got lined up on the nearest wall and shot.”

    As too silly insults that invalidate the humanity of those that disagree with your stance, you set yourself in the Dick Cheney camp. You know, the person that says if they disagree with ME, THEY must be wrong.

    Its a nervous time in the world. You show a bit of naiveté by expecting everyone to be excitedly jumping on the Obama bandwagon. Perhaps if the “Cash for Clunkers” had not been such a mess they might have a bit more credibility in my world. But in my world, all I see is deeper debt and taxes be increased all over the place. And as someone with no car payments on an Audi/Toyota/Volvo and $22.05 (well, I guess almost $100.00 after dinner at the local last night- yummy beef short ribs!) on my credit cards you can bet I am a no debt and pay as you go guy.

    The world has been short on rational discussion for policy and direction between the sides for some time now. Perhaps you could be part of the solution for this rather than part of the problem with name calling?

  13. Well, if the speech is about working hard and staying in school then I have no issue. If it a political end around that begins to be more of a stump speech for pending legislation, often very complicated for most, and clearly beyond the 3rd graders, then we begin to get into murky territory.

    Dan, your concerns are about a thing that hasn’t happened, nobody involved with it has proposed should happen, and the White House has specifically said will not happen. There’s just no way to discuss that rationally. Imagine if President Bush said that he was doing the same thing, and people opposed it because “he’s going to try to convince kindergardeners that torture is OK, recruit fifth graders to join the military, show children pictures of beheadings, then expose himself.” Imagine that in response to such concerns that the White House said, no, he’s going to do precisely what he said that he’d do when he announced it. And Democrats were still outraged about a pretend scandal that hadn’t happened yet. Why would you give such dopes the time of day? How do you refute a thing that hasn’t happened yet, that nobody involved ever proposed should happen, and that there’s no reason to suspect should happen?

    I’ll put up $50 that says that President Obama will not call for any specific legislation to pass Congress. Does anybody who is “concerned” want to bet against me? The proceeds go to…oh…the Shelter for Help in Emergency. This is the free market at work here, folks. If nobody wants to go up against me, then we can conclude that the market has spoken. :)

  14. Didn’t Reagan use his address to the little children to go off against what a scourge taxes are to our country?

    Now I know why the Republicans are so scared. They’re worried Obama will do what they did.

  15. It is a sad commentary that so many conservative thinking Americans are using these society-building and necessary dialogues to spread fear and, in some cases, bizarre analogies that are too far from the truth to be taken seriously. The President wants to encourage kids to stay in school and has a great backstory that will relate to many kids who are likely not to continue because they don’t have that encouragement from their own environment. Why wouldn’t you want that as part of a balanced curriculum? I realize that is not exactly apples and apples with this conversation on the school speech discussion, but it all feeds into the same mentality. I totally support debate and differences in opinions and ideology, but it is just not American, in my opinion, to be ignoring these important discussions by not participating and acting in a obstructionist manner. I read the Tea Party article in the paper today and although I admire that the organizer admits to a history of voting for all parties and is open to hearing all sides it is ridiculous to think that folks that encourage false and non-logical assumptions (and supports signs of a Congressman, agree with his politics or not, doctored to look criminal to create fear and difference). It’s another example of using fear to create a mood that sticks with folks that are black and white thinkers with no room for considering a differing opinion or respecting others with different views. But I guess most great times in our history where there has been an evolution in thinking have been participated by strong examples of backward thinking and irrational behaviors.

  16. May I ask why you were so against Obama’s portrait being in schools, but are gung-ho for a video address by him? Thx.

  17. Lets be clear. I just do not trust politicians. Obviously my concerns are about something that has not happened. My daughter has not been kidnapped off the streets, but it remains a concern. She will be driving soon and I am concerned. To wait and be concerned about something until after it has occurred is silly. And if you say there is NO reason to suspect it might not happen then you continue to show naivete.

    You want to bet that Obama will not deviate from a message:
    1. Stay in school
    2. Work hard

    I am in. But lets make it interesting. The taxes I contribute to the government in an average day can be the bet. If that is spending too much money for your system, then have some sympathy for this “society building” in which the few are paying for the many?

    SanityinCville jumps to some hysterical conclusions given the rabid angst of the left for the past years. You want to sell me on something, then give me a good business plan. So far, no healthcare business plan exists that ANYONE would suggest will work, and receives the support of number crunchers or evidence from daily experience.. All of the suggested savings are wishful thinking, which is not a good way to plan ones life and mortgage ones future. If it is a business plan that would not succeed, then it should not begin.

    Really, the government has a monopoly on the mail and its bleeding red ink. And you think they will suddenly figure things out with healthcare? Perhaps if Obama steps in and solves delivering mail, after his Cash for Clunker mess and maybe he gets credibility for more than great oratory.

  18. I was appalled in 2008, when I found out my daughter’s eigth grade CIVICS teacher gave a lecture on why she made the right choice when she voted for Bush/Cheney. She was teaching in a district that went ovewhelmingly for Kerry/Edwards. My daughter was savvy enough to ignore it(she thought the teacher was kinda stupid anyway), but a classmate of hers went home and told his mother how wrong she was to have voted for Kerry/Edwards. This is the type of political rhetoric that should not be allowed in our classrooms.

    Allowing students to hear the duly elected leader of their country talk about the value of staying in school, working hard, and getting an education? I just fail to see what is wrong with that.

  19. Waldo,

    As a pretty conservative person, I generally agree with your view that there should not be a problem with Obama speaking to our children. He is President of the United States, and regardless of our political views, I think he should do these types of speaking engagements, and of course, leave politics out of the discussion.

    President Bush spoke to the Scout Jamboree several years ago, and I remember sitting there thinking that he did a great job, and left politics out of his speech entirely, he spoke to the scouts! It was a special day for the scouts, as well as parents and leaders.

    Waldo, I remember you supported Bush coming to speak at Monticello in July (I think 2007, but maybe it was 2008??) for the very specific purpose of the Naturalization ceremony, and I respected you for that. You caught one heck of a lot of grief from a few others who didn’t want to see him any where near this town (any of you out there? If so, you may want to cross reference your feelings then and now). (I wanted to find the archive, but when I dug in I could not get the list of 2007 June and July postings to open properly, I assume my problem not the site, but you might want to check).

    I do agree with much of what Danpi has to say, but I am going to be optimistic that Obama does the right thing in this speech, even though I disagree with most of his views.

  20. Regarding my comment above on Bush at Monticello, It was July 4, 2008. I closed my files and re-opened and the archives worked fine, so the problem was on my end.

  21. May I ask why you were so against Obama’s portrait being in schools, but are gung-ho for a video address by him?

    I’m not sure who you’re addressing here, Hombre, but if it’s me, that’s an easy one. The school board member supported putting up President Obama’s photo, but wouldn’t commit to generally supporting putting up presidents’ photos. That is, he would have opposed providing a photo of President Bush, and he may oppose providing a photo of a future president. He’s not looking to make sure that students know who the president is, he’s looking to make sure that students know who President Obama is. That’s not teaching civics, that’s just partisanship, and it’s utterly inappropriate for a government at any level in the United States.

    You want to bet that Obama will not deviate from a message:
    1. Stay in school
    2. Work hard
    I am in.

    That’s a different bet. Folks have expressed concern that Obama will use this occasion to promote the passage or failure of specific legislation. The bet I’m proposing is that he will do no such thing. That is, I’m betting that he won’t do the bad thing that people fear. You’re proposing the inverse: that he will talk only about staying in school and working hard. That’s quite a different bet, because then I could lose even if he gives a speech with which everybody agrees, such as if he talked about the importance of respecting teachers, how proud he is of home schoolers (who did not, in fact, “stay in school”), or note that it’s the fortieth anniversary of the commencement of WWII. Nobody would mind any of those things, but they would not be about working hard or staying in school.

    No, the bet I’m willing to take is whether he’ll promote or oppose specific legislation, as people fear he will. (Incidentally, as scary things go, you could do a lot worse. What purpose is serving by telling 20M eight-year-olds “tell your congressman to support HB1,” I cannot imagine.)

  22. This issue makes it even more clear that Americans do not trust Obama. Many blindly supported him during the election, but the honeymoon is over.

    Extremist associations, again confirmed by the pressured resignation of extremist Van Jones, are one of the many reason Americans do not trust him….not to mention Obamacare, Obama Motors, Obama Corp, Obama Securities, as well as Obama National Banks. I do not want to live in a socialist state and I suspect that our nation’s forefathers are turning over in their grave about now.

    This issue is simply another clear example that Obamaville is not what is was sold to us as….similar to Neverland…..just a front to a bigger dangerous hidden agenda.

  23. You may feel our president is making incorrect decisions, but your children cannot listen to a speech by the President of the United States until it’s been approved by some who disagree with him? This is the exact behavior taking place in countries we as Americans are known for mocking, for shouting down or sending convoys and even troops to prevent.

  24. Rick. No. I am saying that politics has no more place in public schools than religion. And yes, I definitely have a say in my child’s education. The classes. The curriculum. The syllabus are all in my hands before they begin the actual studies. As too mocking and shouting down, the left would be living in a glass house when using that argument. A glass house with a house cat…

    Waldo, now we enter hazy grounds. “staying school is important and we must let nothing get in our way. Losing jobs, getting sick, etc….” would clearly step into an area that I would see as advocation of legislation.

    And I really hope he does not note its the 40th anniversary of the commencement of WW2. Lets hope he does better with his numbers on healthcare.

  25. Just coming by after reading the text. I am all about telling kids to stop complaining and get to work.

    NOw, who is responsible for noting this is the 40th anniversary of WW2? They need to get back to reading the history books!

  26. “God bless America” What’s up with that. I hope someone sues teh Obaminator for that crap.

  27. Waldo’s right about Bush doing the same thing in speaking to the school kids. That’s my point danpi. I never mentioned ‘right’ or ‘left’ but you did. My point was Americans as a whole regularly make fun or intrude when other countries edit the leader’s speaches. The we pronounce how poorly governed that country is doing things and show the proper United States way to govern. It’s strictly partisanship, not parenting. You don’t want to child to take that class, have that book on the syllabus, then keep them home, or better yet, home-school.

  28. True, but there is something worse when the NEA plays the partisan game. You expect Dems and Reps to do so, but public workers unions should stay out.

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